Bath cyclists urged to walk this Saturday in support of Two Tunnels project

Project's supporters also called on to email council decision maker to show their backing

by Simon_MacMichael   January 27, 2010  

Two tunnels entrance

Cyclists in Bath and the surrounding area are being urged to get off their bikes and take part in a walk this Saturday to show their support for what could be a stunning piece of cycling infrastructure, the Two Tunnels Greenway project, which has reached a crucial point in the approval process.

Campaigners are also calling on those in favour of the scheme to write to one of the two councillors with whom the ultimate decision resides to ask him to recommend it.

In October 2008, Bath & North East Somerset Council confirmed its support for the £1.94 million project, which is jointly promoted by Sustrans and local campaigners the Two Tunnels Group

The project, which Sustrans says has “overwhelming support from people in and around Bath,” aims to convert a four-mile section of a former railway line into a cycling and walking path that will link the city with Midford, and will include the renovation of a disused viaduct and open up two tunnels, one of which is over a mile in length, creating a link between town and country to enable everyday journeys to be carried out, whether by bike or on foot.

It is one of 79 schemes throughout the UK that will benefit from a total of £50 million of funding made possible by Sustrans’ Connect2 initiative winning the Big Lottery public vote in December 2007.

The council has now reviewed the business case and financial plan submitted by Sustrans as managers of the project, discussed in a report on the council website. That report recommends that the final decision-makers, Councillor Charles Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Council Services, and Councillor Malcolm Hanney, Cabinet Member for Resources,give the project the green light, subject to confirmation from Sustrans that the project meets certain grant conditions.

More than half the cost - £1 million – is being met by the Big Lottery fund, while Connect 2 Schools is providing some £222,240 plus £290,000 from other sources. The council itself is putting £400,000 towards the project, leaving £61,000 that will need to be found by Two Tunnels or Sustrans, and the latter has identified sources for that in its business case and funding plan.

Saturday’s four-mile walk along the proposed route begins at the north end of Linear Park near the Royal Oak pub on Lower Bristol Road at 10.00am and will end at around 1.15pm in Midford at the Hope & Anchor pub. There are buses back to Bath at just after the hour. It won't be possible to go through the tunnels on the day, so instead the walk will head over Combe Down.

Two Tunnels are also urging supporters of the scheme to write an email to Councillor Gerrish to express their support so that there can no doubt as to the extent of public backing for the project. Although you should use your own words, and the email needn’t be too long, it is suggested that you include details of where you live and how the Two Tunnels Greenway would make a difference to you, as well as including “Two Tunnels Project: Single Member Decision” in the subject line. His email address is Charles_Gerrish@Bathnes.Gov.UK and if you follow that link, we've completed the subject line for you.

A spokesperson for Sustrans told road.cc: "This project has had massive public support but, ironically, few people have actually been through the tunnels since they were closed to trains in the mid-60s. Saturday's walk provides a rare opportunity to view the tunnels and see their potential as a great cycling and walking link between Bath and Midford. We believe people really want this project to become a reality and hope for a massive turn-out this weekend to confirm our conviction."
 

11 user comments

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If the link is reopened, that mile long tunnel will need some HD CCTV systems. Otherwise it sounds like a great idea and most of the funding seems to be in place already.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1868 posts]
28th January 2010 - 9:02

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Interesting article on Bath Chronicle with mostly (unprecedented!) positive discussion here: http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/news/Tunnel-cyclepath-lights-switched-night/...

NickInBath's picture

posted by NickInBath [41 posts]
28th January 2010 - 9:42

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OldRidgeback wrote:
If the link is reopened, that mile long tunnel will need some HD CCTV systems. Otherwise it sounds like a great idea and most of the funding seems to be in place already.

CCTV is already part of the plan, as are lockable gates at each end - these will be left open unless there's trouble.

in terms of good places to commit crimes, CCTV-monitored tunnels are a really really bad choice, what with them having a single exit at each end with a camera on it. it's not like you can sneak in or out. people cite it as a worry, but data from other repurposed tunnels suggests it's unfounded.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [6900 posts]
28th January 2010 - 10:38

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The safety of tunnels all depends on how visible the cameras are, how well protected they are and how often they are maintained. The underpasses in Edinburgh's Westerhailes area for instance are notorious and it can be safer to cross the busy roads at some times.

"Repurposed!" - you've been reading too many govt press releases.

Smile

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1868 posts]
28th January 2010 - 12:05

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OldRidgeback wrote:
The underpasses in Edinburgh's Westerhailes area for instance are notorious and it can be safer to cross the busy roads at some times.

yeah, that may be true. but i don't think Poet's corner in Bath is directly comparable with one of edinburgh's more 'colourful' estates. there might be an stronger argument for saying the tunnel would be a crime magnet if there was a more general problem with crime in the area. there isn't.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [6900 posts]
28th January 2010 - 12:24

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I like this bit:

"ironically, few people have actually been through the tunnels since they were closed to trains in the mid-60s. Saturday's walk provides a rare opportunity to view the tunnels"

well, ironically, saturday's walk doesn't provide an opportunity to actually go through the tunnels... Smile

I also saw somewhere, maybe on the council documents, a budget figure of £15-21k per annum to cover the gates being locked and unlocked every night. Anyone know where I send my cv?

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [336 posts]
28th January 2010 - 12:59

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jezzzer wrote:

I also saw somewhere, maybe on the council documents, a budget figure of £15-21k per annum to cover the gates being locked and unlocked every night. Anyone know where I send my cv?

hey jezzzer fancy a jobshare?!

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1077 posts]
28th January 2010 - 13:42

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Fringe wrote:

hey jezzzer fancy a jobshare?!

I'll take mornings for £10k pa Smile

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [336 posts]
28th January 2010 - 14:57

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its a done deal, does anyone from BANES council read this?

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1077 posts]
28th January 2010 - 19:03

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Dave - I don't know Bath that well - I was going by the graffiti painted on the entrance.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1868 posts]
29th January 2010 - 17:00

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the potential hazards in those tunnels would probably be getting knocked of by a deer or a badger or riding over the occasional rough sleeper.

I got to walk through them last year, very interesting, and very dark
http://road.cc/content/blog/5456-tunnel-vision-x-2

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4098 posts]
29th January 2010 - 17:38

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